Mary Berry's goat's cheese and shallot tarts with walnut pastry

"Ideal for a first course, served with some dressed salad leaves, these are also great for a picnic or light lunch. Take them to the seaside to enjoy as you sit on the beach. You’ll need the goat’s cheese in a tub, which is soft and spreadable, rather than the kind in a roll," says Mary Berry.

MAKES 8 TARTS

PREPARE AHEAD

Once cooked, these will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge.

FREEZE
The cooked tarts can be frozen. Defrost thoroughly at room temperature before serving – the texture of the goat’s cheese topping may suffer if defrosted quickly.

FOR THE PASTRY
175g (6oz) plain flour, plus extra for dusting
100g (4oz) cold butter, cubed
1 egg, beaten
30g (1oz) walnuts, roughly chopped salt and freshly ground black pepper

FOR THE FILLING
1 tbsp oil
500g (1lb 2oz) banana shallots, thinly sliced
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp light muscovado sugar
300g (11oz) soft goat’s cheese
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp chopped parsley, to garnish

Method

1. You will need two four-hole Yorkshire pudding tins. Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C fan/Gas 6, and slide a large baking sheet into the oven to get hot.

2. To make the pastry, first measure the flour, butter and a little salt into a food processor and whizz until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs (or place in a mixing bowl and rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips). Add the beaten egg and 1 tablespoon of water and mix until a ball of dough is formed.

3. Roll out the dough thinly, on a floured work surface, to about 3mm (⅛in) thick, then sprinkle the chopped walnuts over the pastry. Cover with a piece of cling film and roll over the cling film to press the nuts into the pastry. Cut out eight large circles using a pastry cutter or saucer as a guide and use to line the Yorkshire pudding tins. Place in the fridge to chill while you make the filling.

4. Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the shallots and cook over a high heat for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Lower the heat, cover with a lid and cook for 10 minutes until soft. Add the vinegar and sugar and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring every now and then, until dark brown and caramelised. Set aside to cool.

5. Put the goat’s cheese, beaten eggs and 1 tablespoon of the parsley in a bowl, season with salt and pepper and mix until smooth.

6. Prick the base of the chilled tart cases all over with a fork, then spoon the shallot mixture into the pastry cases, dividing it evenly between the two tins. Pour the goat’s cheese mixture over the shallot mixture, again dividing it equally between the tins.

7. Slide the tins on to the hot baking sheet and cook for about 20 minutes until the pastry is crisp and the filling just set and golden. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve warm or cold.

Extracted from Mary Berry’s Absolute Favourites by Mary Berry (BBC Books, hardback £25)
Photography by Georgia Glynn Smith

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